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the whole together, with the cavalry, made up the number of three hundred thousand. 114. At this time, while Mardonius was selecting his army, and Xerxes was in Thessaly, an oracle came to the Lacedaemonians from Delphi, admonishing them to demand satisfaction of Xerxes for the death of Leonidas, and to accept whatever should be given by him. Accordingly the Spartans immediately despatched a herald as quickly as possible, who, when he overtook the whole army still in Thessaly, having come into the presence of Xerxes, spoke as follows: “King of the Medes, the Lacedaemonians and Heraclida of Sparta demand of you satisfaction for blood, because you have slain their king, while protecting Greece.” But he laughing, and having waited a considerable time, as Mardonius happened to be standing near him, pointed to him, and said, “This Mardonius, then, shall give them such satisfaction as they deserve.” The herald, having accepted the omen, went away. 115. Xerxes, having left Mardonius in Thessaly, himself marched in all haste to the Hellespont; and arrived at the place of crossing in forty-five days, bringing back no part of his army, so to speak. Wherever, and among whatever nation, they happened to be marching, they seized and consumed their corn; but if they found no fruit, overcome by hunger, they eat up the herbage that sprung up from the ground, and stripped off the bark of trees and gathered leaves, both from the wild and cultivated, and left nothing; this they did from hunger. But a pestilence and dysentery falling on the army, destroyed them on their march. Such of them as were sick, Xerxes left behind, ordering the cities through which he happened to be passing, to take care of and feed them: some in Thessaly, others at Siris of Paeonia, and in Macedonia. Here having left the sacred chariot of Jupiter, when he marched against Greece, he did not receive it back, as he returned; for the Paeonians having given it to the Thracians, when Xerxes demanded it back, said that the mares had been stolen, as they were feeding, by the upper Thracians, who dwell round the sources of the Strymon. 116. There the king of the Bisaltae and of the Crestonian territory, a Thracian, perpetrated a most unnatural deed: he declared that he would not willingly be a slave to Xerxes, but went up to the top of Mount Rhodope, and enjoined his sons not to join the expedition against Greece. They, however, disregarding his pro
hibition, from a desire to see the war, served in the army with the Persian: but when they all returned safe, being six in number, their father had their eyes put out for this disobedience; and they met with this recompence. 117. The Persians, when in their march from Thrace they arrived at the passage, in great haste crossed over the Hellespont to Abydos in their ships; for they found the rafts no longer stretched across, but broken up by a storm. While detained there, they got more food than on their march, and having filled themselves immoderately, and changed their water, a great part of the army that survived, died: the rest with Xerxes reached Sardis. 118. This different account is also given, that when Xerxes in his retreat from Athens arrived at Eion on the Strymon, from thence he no longer continued his journey by land, but committed the army to Hydarnes to conduct to the Hellespont, and himself going on board a Phoenician ship passed over to Asia: that during his voyage a violent and tempestuous wind from the Strymon overtook him; and then, for the storm increased in violence, the ship being overloaded, so that many of the Persians who accompanied Xerxes were on the deck, thereupon the king becoming alarmed, and calling aloud, asked the pilot if there were any hope of safety for them; and he said: “There is none, sire, unless we get rid of some of those many passengers.” It is further related, that Xerxes, having heard this answer, said: “O Persians, now let some among you show his regard for the king, for on you my safety seems to depend.” That he spoke thus; and that they, having done homage, leapt into the sea; and that the ship, being lightened, thus got safe to Asia. It is added, that Xerxes, immediately after he landed, did as follows: he presented the pilot with a golden crown, because he had saved the king's life; but ordered his head to be struck off, because he had occasioned the loss of many Persians. 119. This latter story is told of the return of Xerxes, but appears to me not at all deserving of credit, either in other respects, nor as to this loss of the Persians; for if this speech had been made by the pilot to Xerxes, I should not find one opinion in ten thousand to deny that the king would have acted thus: that he would have sent down into the hold of the ship those who were on deck, since they were Persians, and Persians of high rank, and would have thrown into the sea a number of rowers, who were Phoenicians, equal to that of the Persians. He, however, as I have before related, proceeding on the march with the rest of the army, returned to Asia. 120. This also is a strong proof: it is known that Xerxes reached Abdera on his way back, and made an alliance of friendship with the people, and presented them with a golden scymetar, and a gold-embroidered tiara. And as the Abderites themselves say, saying what is by no means credible to me, he there for the first time loosened his girdle in his flight from Athens, as being at length in a place of safety. Abdera is situated nearer to the Hellespont than the Strymon and Eion, whence they say he embarked on board the ship. 121. Meanwhile the Greeks, finding they were not able to reduce Andros, turned to Carystus, and having ravaged their country, returned to Salamis. In the first place, then, they set apart first-fruits for the gods, and among other things, three Phoenician triremes; one to be dedicated at the Isthmus, which was there in my time; a second at Sunium, and the third to Ajax, there at Salamis. After that, they divided the booty, and sent the first-fruits to Delphi, from which a statue was made, holding the beak of a ship in its hand, and twelve cubits in height; it stands in the place where is the golden statue of Alexander the Macedonian. 122. The Greeks, having sent first-fruits to Delphi, inquired of the god in the name of all, if he had received sufficient and acceptable first-fruits: he answered, that from the rest of the Greeks he had, but not from the Æginetae; of them he demanded an offering on account of their superior valour in the sea-fight at Salamis. The AEginetae, being informed of this, dedicated three golden stars, which are placed on a brazen mast in the corner, very near the bowl of Croesus." 123. After the division of the booty, the Greeks sailed to the Isthmus, for the purpose of conferring the palm of valour upon him among the Greeks who had proved himself most deserving throughout the war. When the generals, having arrived, distributed the ballots at the altar of Neptune, selecting the first and second out of all; thereupon every one gave his vote for himself, each thinking himself the most valiant; but with respect to the second place, the majority concurred in selecting Themistocles. They, there7 See B.I. chap. 51.
fore, had but one vote, whereas Themistocles had a great majority for the second honour. 124. Though the Greeks, out of envy, would not determine this matter, but returned to their several countries without coming to a decision; yet Themistocles was applauded and extolled throughout all Greece, as being by far the wisest man of the Greeks. But because, although victorious, he was not honoured by those who fought at Salamis, he immediately afterwards went to Lacedaemon, hoping to be honoured there. The Lacedaemonians received him nobly, and paid him the greatest honours. They gave the prize of valour to Eurybiades, a crown of olive; and of wisdom and dexterity to Themistocles, to him also a crown of olive. And they presented him with the most magnificent chariot in Sparta; and having praised him highly, on his departure, three hundred chosen Spartans, the same that are called knights, escorted him as far as the Tegean boundaries. He is the only man that we know of whom the Spartans escorted on his journey. 125. When he arrived at Athens, from Lacedaemon, thereupon Timodemus of Aphidnae, who was one of Themistocles' enemies, though otherwise a man of no distinction, became mad through envy, reproached Themistocles, alleging against him his journey to Lacedaemon; and that the honours he received from the Lacedaemonians were conferred on account of Athens, and not for his own sake. But he, as Timodemus did not cease to repeat the same thing, said: “The truth is, neither should I, were I a Belbinite, have been thus honoured by the Spartans; nor would you, fellow, were you an Athenian.” So far, then, this occurred. 126. In the mean time, Artabazus, son of Pharnaces, a man even before of high repute among the Persians, and much more so after the battle of Plataea, having with him sixty thousand men of the army which Mardonius selected, escorted the king as far as the passage. And when the king arrived in Asia, he, marching back, came into the neighbourhood of Pallene: but as Mardonius was wintering in Thessaly and Macedonia, and there was nothing as yet to urge him to join the rest of the army, he did not think it right, since he happened to be in the way of the Potidaeans who had revolted, to neglect the opportunity of reducing them to slavery. For the Potidaeans, as soon as the king had passed by, and the Persian fleet had fled from Salamis, openly revolted from the barbarians; as also did the other inhabitants of Pallene. 127. Artabazus, therefore, besieged Potidaea. And as he suspected that the Olynthians intended to revolt from the king, he also besieged their city. The Bottiaeans then held it, who had been driven from the bay of Therma by the Macedonians. When he had besieged and taken them, having taken them out to a marsh, he slaughtered them, and gave the city to Critobulus of Torone to govern, and to the Chalcidian race: thus the Chalcidians became possessed of Olynthus. 128. Artabazus, having taken this city, applied himself vigorously to the siege of Potidaea; and, as he was earnestly engaged with it, Timoxenus, general of the Scionatans, treated with him for the betrayal of the city: in what way at first I am unable to say, for it is not reported; at last, however, the following plan was adopted. When either Timoxenus had written a letter and wished to send it to Artabazus, or Artabazus to Timoxenus, having rolled it round the butt-end of an arrow, and put the feathers over the letter, they shot the arrow to a spot agreed upon. But Timoxenus was detected in attempting to betray Potidaea. For Artabazus, when endeavouring to shoot to the spot agreed upon, missed the right spot and wounded one of the Potidaeans on the shoulder; a crowd ran round the wounded man, as is usual in time of war; they having immediately drawn out the arrow, when they perceived the letter, carried it to the generals; and an allied force of the other Pallenians was also present. When the generals had read the letter, and discovered the author of the treachery, they determined not to impeach Timoxenus of treason, for the sake of the city of the Scionaoans, lest the Scionaoans should ever after be accounted traitors. In this manner, then, he was detected. 129. After three months had been spent by Artabazus in the siege, there happened a great ebb of the sea, which lasted for a long time. The barbarians, seeing a passage that might be forded, marched across towards Pallene; and when they had performed two parts of their journey, and three still remained, which they must have passed over to be within Pallene, a strong flood-tide of the sea came on them, such as was never seen before, as the inhabitants say, though floods are frequent. Those, then, that did not know how to swim, perished, and those that did know